Chiaming Lake trail reopens, with new bear deterrents

FAR FROM HOME::Paths and cabins were closed after hikers last month reported three sightings of black bears at cabins more than 2.8km above sea level

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Sep 07, 2018 - Page 4

The Chiaming Lake National Trail (嘉明湖國家步道) in Taitung County reopened yesterday after the Forestry Bureau said precautions were put in place to prevent intrusions by Formosan black bears near the cabins in the area.

The Siangyang (向陽) and Chiaming huts have been equipped with bear deterrent spray and whistles, among other things, while about 60 guides, cabin managers and other workers have received training on bear behavior and emergency response in the event of an intrusion, the bureau said on Wednesday.

In addition, visitors to the park are to be briefed on how to respond if they encounter bears in the area, the bureau said.

The park was closed on Aug. 22 in the wake of four reported sightings of Formosan black bears in the area over the previous two weeks by hikers, who said that they spotted three Formosan black bears separately invading the cabins in search of food.

The bears, which are endemic to Taiwan, were spotted near the Siangyang and Chiaming cabins on Aug. 9, 10, 17 and 18, Taitung District office deputy director Huang Chun-tse (黃群策) said.

On Aug. 9 and Aug. 10, bears were spotted by a hiking guide and a park official late at night near the Siangyang Cabin, which is about 4.3km from the entrance to the Siangyang Forest Recreation Area (向陽森林遊樂區) at 2.85km above sea level, Huang said.

There were other sightings on Aug. 17 and Aug. 18 by hikers of bears in the cooking areas of the Siangyang Cabin and near of the restrooms of the Chiaming Cabin, about 8.7km from the park entrance, he said.

The bears are omnivorous, but have no history of attacking people in Taiwan and tend to avoid direct contact with humans, he said.